Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York ★★★★½

Synecdoche, New York is one crazy ride of a film. As I was watching it, I often felt like I had no idea what was going on, then I realized that was precisely the feeling you needed to have to understand it, because that is precisely what is happening: a mesmerizing cacophony of images and scenes and later thoughts brought to life that capture life and the mind of an artist as well as any form of media can try to do so.

The film started over very nuanced to me with peculiar ticks that had me very interested to start. It’s quite spare and everything works well. About halfway through the film is where it spirals into controlled madness as the main character, Caden, decides to stage a play based on his life that more or less overtakes reality and disintegrates the separation between fact and fiction in his desire for self-discovery. 

There’s a whole bunch of meta stuff about life and art and what it would be like to see ourselves from the outside looking in. There’s so much to dissect that it’s almost not possible. Like an experimental poem, with this film you are largely left with emotions and big picture thoughts than much cohesion. And that’s quite alright. I can certainly see why so many find this to be a masterpiece and why a similarly large amount think this is pretentious and miserable, messy garbage. 

I’m an artist’s artist, so I lean towards the former, but there’s still something missing for me that keeps it from the top of my list. As I say with so many films, maybe on another watch where I know what I’m seeing, I’ll love it more. This one time though felt like a little too much. I love what the film is doing and the magnificence and ambition of it, but there are many points where the nuance felt gone or there wasn’t enough of a thread to hold onto to really realize the full impact of the film. I don’t even know what to say or how to qualify my experience, but for now it will be a 9/10.

Connor liked these reviews